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When They Heard
by Margery Wolfe
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When They Heard

How important is what we hear? Heard means we perceived or sensed sound through stimulation of auditory nerves in the ear by sound waves, to listen to and give consideration to what was said, informed.

St. John 4:1-2 when therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus himself baptized not but His disciples).

Two is better than one, with more we can do more, but for what reason do we do what we do? He made disciples and the disciples made disciples. Jesus did and taught his disciples (St. John 4:34) to do the will of the Father as He had come to do and finish the course that people will hear and Glorify the Father. Let it be heard that our discipleship and stewardship is of the Lord Jesus Christ and people will glorify God and worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

Jesus in St. John 4:44 testified himself that a prophet is without honor in his own country; why? Itís because of what people have heard or seen of us. They see us in the carnal, not the Spirit. They saw Jesus as a mere carpenterís son; not the Son of God. People perceive us by what they hear and see carnally and not spiritually. How we see things is just as important as what we hear. If a man preaches of the Gospel ďthou shall not stealĒ; he too should not practice stealing. The same goes for lying and every other spirit that goes against the precepts of Godís Word. We must live the Gospel and be in obedience to the God we say we love.

What is heard of us? Is it noteworthy? Does it deserve notice? Is it outstanding, remarkable or worthy of notice? Only what we do for Christ will last. When God send us to do his bidding do we want to go? Or do we find fault? Jesus talking to the woman of Samaria in John 4:7-28 was weary from his journey and sat on a well Jacob had given his Son Joseph in the City of Samaria. When she came and Jesus asked her for some water she replied of what she had heard. She heard that the Jews had no dealings with the Samarians. Jesus told her that if she only knew who it was that asked she could receive living water. We cannot just hear of the, but we must know the Lord. What have we heard about worship? Jesus told her that there will be a time that we not only hear about God but we will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Hearing goes farther than just hearing, it brings us to worship. They say, what they say, let them say means I hear you but itís useless. What Jesus told her she questioned until he brought it to home to her in St. John 4:16-19. She not only heard Him but perceived that he must be a Prophet. Her eyes came open and her hearing was must more keen and attentive. We too must hear and perceive who Jesus really is and know him in a more significant way. What we have heard and seen of him we too must apply to our lives. How we see things is just as important as hearing.

This Samaritan woman heard and her reaction was that of the Lord Jesus; she ran with the message to tell all that would hear. She took it to the streets that she frequented. The Pharisees heard of Jesus but they had wrath toward him, they were mad. They were a Jewish sect, a brotherhood of the Distinct or Separatists, a powerful group and of great repute. These men pledged that they would be obligated to pay all tithes before the use of sale of any commodity and avoided all uncleanness in regard to which a multitude of rules were laid down. To these two characteristics of Pharisaism Jesus alluded in Matthew 23:23-24 that woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocritesĒ for ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cumin and have omitted the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel; for ye make clean the outside the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess; you are like whited sepulchers, appearing beautiful on the outside but full of dead men bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so also the outward appearance appear righteous to men, but within they are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Because they built the tombs of the prophets and garnish the Sepulchers of the righteous and say if we had been in the days of our fathers we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets. Wherefore ye be witness unto yourselves (remember what you say) that ye are the children of them (a child lives what they learn) which killed the prophets. Are they not better or as their fathers?

Jesus called them serpents, the generation of vipers, how could they escape their environment that had been adjudged in damnation and made in hell? They killed and crucified the prophets and some were scourged in the synagogues and persecuted city to city. All the righteous blood shed upon earth would come upon them for generations to come.

They heard Jesus say these things to them and many times tried to entrap him. They paid much more attention to the oral law then what Jesus told them. The oral law was a series of unwritten interpretation of the Divine Oracles handed down from Doctor to Doctor and forming an elaborate system extending to every detail of worship and of life. They were a web of intricate refinement to fence the law. They were the tradition of the Elders span around Godís Word. They didnít hear or see the spiritual connotation of what He was saying to them. Jesus was suggesting to them that they took a look at their past, change in the present that they may live in the future life to come.

Hearing but not seeing means it stops at the ear and was never processed as valuable information. Traditions became the multiplicity of subtle distinction and vexation rules an opposition to the conscience. Formalism was substituted for spiritual religion. The customary worship of the Pharisees included the wearing of long robes with fringe and tassels, broad phylacteries, long prayers publicly recited by the highways at the customary hours as well as by the casuistry of their teachings and the inconsistency of their lives. They wanted the affection of men rather than God.

This was an indictment Jesus brought against them. They were the principal obstacle to the reception of Christ and His Gospel. It was impossible for them to accept the spirituality of his Doctrines or to descend to the humility of those who followed him. Their spirit was that of self-sufficiency and pride. When John the Baptist preached repentance in the wilderness the Pharisees for the most part rejected the counsel of God against themselves (Luke 7:30) and now here is this Jesus. They refused to be baptized and thanked God that they were not like the others but exalted themselves in their own esteem to heaven, making them the sons of hell (Matthew 23:15).

Another things that made them fight against Jesus is they held certain great doctrines; doctrines of a resurrection and future life with a tenacity unknown to the people at large. Their strictness or points of religious observance served as an antidote to prevailing laxity. The Apostle Paul regarded it as a distinction among the professors of Judaism to be a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee in Acts 23:6. I am one of you. This divided those against him, the Sadducees say there is no resurrection, angels, or Spirit and the Pharisees believe there are and confess the resurrection, angels, and Spirit. Paul caused division to come among them because he studied and was learned of their sects. We must study to know God and be able to recognize Satan when he presents himself to us that we too can cause Satanís attacks to be of none effect. Paul was taught naturally of great men and was taught of Jesus himself before He was sent to do Godís work. He was a learned man. Paul was on a mission set by God; they couldnít mess with him.

The best and the worst of the people were Pharisees, but in the best there was a narrowness and fanaticism from which the inevitable reaction was shown in the worst. Politically they were the National Party; steadfastly maintaining the separateness and independence of the Jewish people, against all efforts to reduce them to Roman allegiance. They considered themselves to be the guardians of the Divine Law and the ancestral customs, trusting implicitly that he who selected them to be his peculiar people would protect and shield them and theirs from all outward dangers which threatened their way of life.

Their holy heritage would never be crossed by the Roman rule. They had the support of all the other Sects in enmity to Christ. This shows us that how even the most diverse forms of error can come together effectively against what is right and honorable before God and the Truth. They were a small group but had great influence. After the destruction of Jerusalem they disappeared as a distinct Sect but their teachings and spirit have given the tone to the modern world in many areas of dissension. The Devil uses this spirit in his hatred to Christ then and now in all that would avail these characteristics to their lives; hatred!

After having to contend with John the Baptist here they are hearing that this Jesus did more than John. What are we going to do about this Jesus? The people seemingly love him, signs and wonders follow him, he stands forth as more than a man; indeed even as more than a supernatural envoy or representative of deity. He is the very God come in the flesh! John portrayed Jesus progressively as the source of new life, the water of life, and the bread of life. Jesus seeks to rescue man from sin and doom and to restore him to divine fellowship and holiness. Jesus is the eternal Logos that made this world his temporary dwelling place. Through His grace fallen man becomes qualified to abide in God and finally in the eternal mansions Jesus promises. In his own person Jesus fulfilled the meaning of the Old Testament prophecies and feasts.

Just as Jesus triumphed we too can walk in that same legacy. These Pharisees feared Jesus in that they too knew of the error of their way. For they heard him when he told them about themselves; how dare he? Because He knew of their thinking and wanting to murder him he went another way. Sometime we must walk away from things when we have heard of danger pending. We must be Spirit filled, Spirit led, and Spirit controlled! Itís a matter of life and death.

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